California Sees Early Reservation Rush

February 2, 2009 by   - () Leave a Comment

Ruth Coleman, director of California State Parks and Recreation, has already seen the campsite reservation rush twice this winter for the state’s publicly owned campgrounds. The numbers she provided last week in her report with the California State Park Foundation were staggering, according to the San Francisco Chronicle:

  • On Dec. 1, the first day that campsites could be reserved for June, campers made 12,905 reservations. That is an increase from the previous two years, both of which were also records for that date, 8,741 in 2007 and 10,504 in 2008.
  • On Jan. 2, the first day reservations were available for July, campers made 20,407 reservations, the all-time record for a single day. That was higher than the previous records of 17,458 in 2007 and 18,134 last year.
    “This information tells the story of the value of outdoor recreation and camping to the people of this state,” Coleman said. “Competition is growing for the best camping spots.”
    The rush on campsites for the coming year is attributed to two factors. One is the economy, because camping provides the low-cost ability to stay overnight amid world-class beauty. The other is the system, where you either work the reservation grid or are forced to take your chances at lesser-known, distant parks; in the past few years, many campers have become expert at working the system.
    California has roughly 1,600 campgrounds. Of these, about 600 are privately owned RV parks. Of the 1,000 run by state, federal, county and regional parks, and PG&E and Edison, about 500 are on the reservation grid, according to research editors for California Camping. That leaves about 500 that are first-come, first-served, including many at lakes, rivers and trailheads, although most are distant.

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